Reporters Without Borders and the Hong Kong Journalists' Association have sent Chinese President Hu Jintao a petition containing 10,500 signatures calling for the release of Ching Cheong (photo), Hong Kong correspondent of the Singapore daily Straits Times. Hundreds of journalists have already joined the campaign for their colleague held in isolation in Beijing for nearly two months.
Two months to the day since Chinese police arrested journalist Ching Cheong, a petition calling for his release signed by 10,500 people in 20 different countries was sent today to Chinese President Hu Jintao and the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang. Hundreds of journalists in Asia, Europe and the Americas have called for their colleague working with the Singapore daily Straits Times, who has been unfairly accused of spying, to be set free. Thousands of people in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and France have offered their support to this respected journalist. The petition, whose signatories include the chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, Ping Ling Cheung, and the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, Robert Ménard - is still available on www.petition-chingcheong.org. Elsewhere the foreign correspondents' club in China has sent a letter to the Chinese president seeking Ching's release. In total, ten thousand people worldwide have in less than two weeks demonstrated their wish to back this imprisoned journalist. The Chinese government should respond to this appeal and free Ching Cheong. The Chinese foreign ministry said on 31 May 2005 that Ching of the Singapore daily Straits Times had confessed to being a "spy in the pay of foreign agencies". The Hong Kong journalist, living permanently in Singapore and holder of a special British National Overseas passport (BNO, specific to Hong Kong), was arrested by Chinese police on 22 April in the southern city of Guangzhou. He is being held in isolation in Beijing. sign the international appeal for Ching Cheong